Dr. Corilee Watters, MSc, RD, PhD, CNSC

 

 

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences

 Copyright ©  Dr. Corilee Watters
UH

 

Dr. Corilee Watters, MSc, RD, PhD, CNSC

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences

Nutrition in Growth and Development
 

My research focuses on critical periods in growth and development, where nutritional status has an important effect on clinical outcomes and lifetime risk of disease development.  The two periods of time in growth and development which appear to be particularly important in development and continuation of obesity are the perinatal period and adolescence.  During the prenatal and adolescent period, nutrient requirements parallel this rapid growth, with the greatest needs occurring during this peak period of growth. 

Premature infants and babies of low birth weight for gestational age have shown increased risk of development of obesity related disease such a diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In collaboration with epidemiologist colleagues, I have been investigating risk factors for prematurity of infants born in Hawaii.   I have been working with Dr. Sheree Kuo and Dr. Lynn Iwamoto, Neonatologists at Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children (KMCWC) to investigate a number of nutrition issues. Very low birth weight (VLBW) (<1500g) and extremely low birth weight (ELBW) (<1000g) preterm infants are born during the period of life with the highest proportional nutritional requirements and rates of weight gain.  We are undertaking a retrospective analysis of nutritional interventions for ELBW and VLBW infants at KMCWC to determine the effect of changing practices, with regard to timing and formulation of parenteral nutrition, on outcomes such as growth rates, days on parenteral nutrition, morbidities and days to discharge.  Furthermore in infants born with short bowel syndrome due to a variety of medical conditions, we are studying use of Omegaven Fish Oil Emulsion for Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease (
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01194063)
 

During the second decade of life, absolute nutrient requirements are the highest of any period in growth and development. In this period, adolescents achieve the final 15-20% of their adult height, and gain up to 40% of their adult skeletal mass. Nutrient needs parallel this rapid growth, with the greatest requirements occurring during the peak period of growth.  Combined with changes in eating and physical activity patterns and environmental influences, adolescence represents a nutritionally vulnerable time with long term consequences.  Adolescent obesity is a major health concern in Hawaii.  According to the 2009 Hawaii Youth Risk Behavior Survey, over 28% of high-school students are overweight and obese.  We are studying the prevalence, natural progression and resolution of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a multi-ethnic cohort of overweight adolescents.  In addition I am Principal Investigator for Hawaii on a Multi-state project investigating how to motivate parents to promote intake of calcium rich foods among early adolescents.